Planet Iron Blogger SF

May 23, 2022

Certainly Strange

Disco Elysium (Again)

I’m doing another playthrough of Disco Elysium….. the game is still blowing me away, with how much is different with a different build

by Steen at May 23, 2022 05:56 AM

Claire Kao

the graduate

A ceremony 2 years belated…marking what is likely the end of my formal schooling, and the end of my undergrad/grad 🍎Columbia🦁 tenure:

A bit rainy & gray

Caught on the kiss-cam
From where I sat, I could see the windows of my undergrad freshman, sophomore, and junior year dorms 😭😭😭

2022 // 2014
accoutrements 🧙🏻‍♀️

I was very ambivalent about attending: I didn’t think I needed a commencement ceremony, and I also didn’t want to revisit business school (which was an overwhelmingly negative experience for me). 
BUT it ended up feeling meaningful to acknowledge the end of a chapter, appreciate the *entirety* of my time at Columbia, and express/feel gratitude for those who took me through these experiences good and bad 🎭

by Claire ( at May 23, 2022 05:04 AM

May 22, 2022

I before E except Gleitzman

Celebrating another loop around the sun at Good Hot, a new sauna in Point Richmond.

Conveniently located next to /dev/tty4

May 22, 2022 09:06 PM

May 19, 2022

I Like Turtles

Pearl Jam in Oakland


May 19, 2022 04:00 AM

May 16, 2022

Claire Kao

nathalie djurberg

About 10 years ago, I went to an art exhibit at the Kunsthaus Zürich called “Deftig Barock” (translated as “Riotous Baroque”). The curators placed especially decadent contemporary artists alongside famous baroque pieces to great effect. (Think contemporary artists such as Marilyn Minter, Cindy Sherman, Robert Crumb, Maurizio Cattelan, etc.)

One piece in particular that has stayed with me over the years, more than really any other art piece I’ve ever seen, was a stop motion animation by Nathalie Djurberg:
A photo I took in 2012 of the animation “I Found Myself Alone” (2008)

I was riveted by the piece, which started with a dainty ant-ballerina dancing elegantly and lightly around a banquet table piled with a veritable feast. Several minutes in, she takes a false step and all hell breaks loose; the food starts falling everywhere, she is slipping, drowning, immersed in food; the fine china is breaking into pieces, and the video ends in utter chaos (from what I can recall 10 years later).

I haven’t seen Djurberg’s work since, but whenever I’m scared of forgetting her work and name, I rapidly search for her again and refresh my memory.

This week, I decided it was time to find a catalog of her work so I don’t have to frantically remind myself of her when I’m on the cusp of forgetting. In lieu of being able to see her work in a museum, this also seems a reasonable alternative to revisit her work whenever I want. (Though no replacement for seeing her work in video form as it was originally intended.)


The book is fantastic, and reminds me of all that appealed to me about her work: its irreverence, dark joy, chaos, the humor that can be found in body horror. Not to mention the attention to detail in her stop motions’ exceptional visuals. You simply cannot look away.

If you’re curious to see her work, here is a YouTube video that was published in tandem with the book I just bought:

And here’s Ziggy absolutely riveted by the video. Count him a fan of Djurberg too 

by Claire ( at May 16, 2022 04:41 AM

Doctor Popular

A fun responsive counterweight combo

I went on a long hike with some friends recently and found this trick as I was walking around. I was carrying something in my left hand, so I kept trying to find one-handed yo-yo tricks I could do with my right hand. I ended up finding a nice back-of-the-hand stall that also worked well with a responsive/counterweight set up.

Here’s a look at just the stall

These types of back of the hand stalls aren’t knew, I just like the aerial toss into a stall. You can see another version a counterweight back of the hand stall in this old video of mine too (around three minutes in).

The post A fun responsive counterweight combo appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at May 16, 2022 03:45 AM

May 14, 2022

I Like Turtles

Arena show


May 14, 2022 04:00 AM

May 09, 2022

Claire Kao



When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping."
—Mr. Rogers

On Tuesday evening, I went to CVTC's Advocate Certification Ceremony (the 25th!). I had spent the day in a daze, reeling from the news about the Supreme Court's forthcoming decision and its impact on Roe v. Wade. The above quote was offered as a small comfort to ease the brutality of the news, and also as a renewing of hope in the people and communities around us who are helping, supporting, and doing the work, while governance and institutions fail women, fail us.



an example of how teen girls instinctively felt that there was something wrong in the world, but lacked access to a vocabulary or knowledge to accurately describe it. Instead, they performed fangirlishness as a socially acceptable mode of resisting and expressing their frustration, their dissatisfaction...the hysteria and projective violence of extreme fangirlishness as a sublimation of an emergent revolutionary spirit.
I recently saw James McAvoy in Cyrano (a captivating imagining of the Cyrano story, catch it if you can!), and was reminded of how obsessed I used to be with him in high school. Sitting in a playhouse where he commanded the stage had my 16-year-old inner stan absolutely squueeealing. I found myself thinking about where those obsessive tendencies have since been directed within me, but also how comforting and escapist they were when I was a teen.
Separately, I've been impressed, awed, and a little confused by the way gen z's organize political actions within stan circles (see examples here and here). 
The analysis above from Trisha Low felt incredibly on point and elucidating for all these dynamics I have felt and experienced, but could never explain or articulate.


A warming of the air

Among the biggest surprises for me in recent years has been the discovery of a new and undramatic happiness. I'm basically a believer in temperament, that our emotional thermostats are set early in life, and that despite passing peaks and valleys, they're more or less fixed. But life with my partner, in which the first and last act of each day is a habitual acknowledgment of love—a hug, a caress—has caused a minor but durable shift in the weather, a warming of the air by a degree or two. 
Garth Greenwell 

Appreciating within this quote how my definition and experience of love has changed over time.


Don't f**k with chaos

I fully cleaned house on that type of behavior. I make sure that, at this point in my life, I just don't fuck with chaos.
Natasha Lyonne
While I used to thrive in chaos, this recent snippet from Natasha Lyonne resonated with how I'm seeking more and more peace and clarity in life. She's lent a useful defiance in the ongoing project of living better.
Which isn't to say I don't have a fair amount of inherent chaos as a part of my personality, I definitely do. Just not going to seek out more, as I consciously or subconsciously used to... 


A final note

Wishing a very happy mother's day to the people who mother, who nurture, who protect, who birth; who create safe, warm, cozy spaces 🏡

by Claire ( at May 09, 2022 02:28 PM

Certainly Strange

SF Crosstown Trail

Did the SF Crosstown Trail today! Would highly recommend, the city has lots of little surprises and amazing areas to see!

by Steen at May 09, 2022 06:58 AM

Doctor Popular

Performing Dr. Strange while listening to “People Are Strange” and using a Dr. Strange filter

Dr. Strange is an older trick of mine that I thought I should start doing again since there’s a whole Dr. Strange movie happening now.

The post Performing Dr. Strange while listening to “People Are Strange” and using a Dr. Strange filter appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at May 09, 2022 01:45 AM

May 07, 2022

I before E except Gleitzman

Ancestral Music from India, Persia, Turkey, and Greece

I had the good fortune of catching Maz Karandish & Alexander Karvelas, along with their tabla player, performing an evening of ancestral music from India, Persia, Turkey, and Greece. This was part of a Groupmuse event in the Oakland hills – notable for being the first event put on by that organization that strayed from the Classical European Chamber Music tradition. The performers were fantastic, including the dancers for many of the Turkish and Greek songs, and I was happy to see an organization like Groupmuse offering a diversity of voices as a direct result of the George Floyd murder and resulting protests.

May 07, 2022 04:53 AM

May 04, 2022

Matt Spitz

Intro to retros

I recently presented an introduction to retrospectives at Vanta as a tool for teams to use in a hypergrowth environment. The presentation was well-received, so I’ve converted it into a post in it’s interesting to others, too!

Why retrospect?

Companies that are growing as quickly as Vanta are moving fast and need to move even faster to build their presence in the market.

In this environment, these two things are true:

  • Mistakes will happen. We’re moving fast, and things will break.
  • What works today almost certainly will not work tomorrow.

We must embrace these truths, expect change, and anticipate the continual need to adapt. Retrospectives are a tool to discover opportunities for improvement both retroactively and proactively.

In Engineering, we use two types of retrospectives:

  • Incident retrospectives: “Something bad happened. What did we learn, and what will we improve for next time?”
  • Team retrospectives: “How might we improve how we work to preempt future bad things from happening?”

Incident retrospectives

Quality is a choice that trades off against speed. The best way to ship a product with no defects is not to ship a product at all. We’re moving fast and shipping a lot, and sometimes, things don’t go as planned.

When something goes wrong, the root cause is rarely pure human error. We need a depersonalized and blameless way to reflect and identify improvements to our processes and tools to learn from our mistakes and to prevent them from happening again. Framing incident retrospectives as blameless is essential – blameless retrospectives encourage honesty and lead to meaningful improvements. In contrast, creating a culture where it’s not OK to make mistakes discourages surfacing and addressing real issues.

We have an incident playbook to identify incidents, resolve them, and communicate internally and externally. When an incident is resolved, we have a retrospective template that covers, roughly:

  • Timeline (what happened?)
  • Root cause
  • Resolution (how did we fix it?)
  • What went well?
  • What could we improve?
  • Action items

Every two weeks, leadership from Engineering and Customer Experience reviews these retrospective documents to coach the team in diagnosing root cause issues and to ensure that we have appropriate action items moving forward. While it’s OK to make mistakes, we must use these opportunities to learn from them going forward, and this is the forum to ensure that that happens.

Team retrospectives

We often say that “every week is a new week at Vanta.” It’s true! We’re growing our customer base and team very quickly, and we’re building this rocketship while flying it. One of Vanta’s principles is bias for action, commit to iteration, essentially acknowledging how fast we’re moving and embracing evolving how we work.

A tool we use to identify improvements proactively is the team retrospective. Essentially, we’re assessing how we work today and identifying potential improvements before things break.

On a ~monthly basis, Engineering teams dedicate time to reflect on projects, processes, and working relationships to identify opportunities for improvement.

Teams can run retrospectives however they’d like. Our default format is:

  1. Collect opinions and potential improvements from teammates independently to avoid bias, either in a shared document or on post-it notes. Our default framework is:
    • Start (what should we start doing?)
    • Stop (what should we stop doing?)
    • Continue (what should we continue doing?)
    • Puzzle (what questions do we have?)
  2. Assemble these ideas, grouping them by theme.
  3. Teammates vote on themes they’d like to discuss.
  4. Discuss top-voted items and, where appropriate, next steps.

Like incident retrospectives, effective team retrospectives are depersonalized and blameless. When a team ritual grows stale, it doesn’t matter who came up with that idea in the first place. It’s broken, so rip it out, try something new, and move forward. Depersonalizing decisions encourages more people to volunteer suggestions, and a team that incorporates more opinions and feedback almost always delivers better outcomes.

One secret benefit of running team retrospectives run well is that teammates have a venue in which to surface their complaints. When someone brings up constructive feedback for how we work in a 1:1, I direct them to the next retrospective where the whole team can hear it. If others agree, great, let’s fix it! If the team decides to prioritize other improvements, they’ll see that in a way that’s fair and transparent.


So that’s it! I hope you find these tools useful. Next time something breaks, consider running an incident retrospective to avoid making the same mistake again. Next time someone thinks your team’s processes feel stale or inefficient (spoiler: this is often in a high-growth environment), consider running a team retrospective to identify improvements.

Don’t squander a good mistake, no matter how small or spectacular; take advantage of opportunities to learn and improve! Remember, blameless retrospectives encourage honesty and lead to real improvements.

May 04, 2022 04:00 AM

May 02, 2022

I before E except Gleitzman

Buggin’ Out West Coast Style

Feat. The Sweetest Lil’ Witch

May 02, 2022 03:30 AM

Certainly Strange

Resting Romulan Face

Tried experimenting a bit with a simpler and cartoonier style

by Steen at May 02, 2022 02:23 AM

Doctor Popular

I’m in the National Yo-Yo Hall of Fame!

Something cool happened recently, I was inducted into the National Yo-Yo Hall of Fame. I even got a cool plaque!

They also made this short video about me:

Here’s the longer video with all of the 2021 National Yo-Yo Hall Of Fame inductees:

The post I’m in the National Yo-Yo Hall of Fame! appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at May 02, 2022 01:49 AM

April 30, 2022

I Like Turtles



April 30, 2022 04:00 AM

April 25, 2022

Certainly Strange

Doctor Popular

Hattori review

This is one of the more dangerous yo-yos in my collection


This thing looks dangerous. #yoyo

? original sound – Doc Pop

The post Hattori review appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at April 25, 2022 05:30 AM

Claire Kao

earth is the turf

🌎happy earth day 2022🌏

One way I've been trying to work through climate and eco-anxiety is by getting closer to plants, things that grow, soil, leaves, earthworms, bugs. I've been a city girl my entire life, and have never really had much experience with gardens. 
But I was lucky in 2020/2021 to be staying in a relatively rural place, where a lot of people had gardens. A lot of these people were older and enjoyed gardening for its many benefits, but were glad to have an extra pair of extra pair of voracious and obsessive hands, especially when it came to weeding.

weeding is an interesting practice that I've spent a lot of time thinking about, especially while I was doing the mindless, repetitive work of...weeding. At the end of the day, I found it meditative, relaxing, stress-relieving. I came to really rely on weeding almost as a ritual by the end of my time in Connecticut.

When I moved back to NYC, I was concerned about the immediate, sudden lack of gardening I'd be facing. I was loving gardening so much that I was beginning to dream about the feeling of roots moving satisfyingly through soil, a surreal feeling that I confirmed was shared by a fellow gardener recently.
I considered a lot of different ways I might garden, I even considered walking into a nearby church that had a robust weed issue and asking if they wanted some help. I considered community gardens nearby, but I felt I still had a lot to learn. I ended up striking up a conversation with a volunteer on the High Line, and learned they had volunteer gardeners. I emailed the coordinator with fingers crossed.

Fast-forward several months, and I got to participate in their Spring Cutback. I ended up making the cut to become a Horticulture Partner!! (see last post):

what a difference a week makes...different areas on the High Line, but the same plant before and after cutback + some sun

I haven't done much yet, but it's been incredible to work alongside professional horticulturists. To work in the sun, and also on a piece of greenery that I have walked along many times. I am learning so much about plants, I'm seeing the seasonal evolution of the gardens up close and personally. I'm learning about stewardship and respect for things that are natural, life-giving, and good in our world.

by Claire ( at April 25, 2022 04:47 AM

April 24, 2022

I Like Turtles

Spring break


April 24, 2022 04:00 AM

I before E except Gleitzman

Take It Back

Take It Back: a renegade gathering to make up for lost time stolen by the plague. Performed on a brilliant sunny day in Berkeley, California.

Take It Back Flyer

April 24, 2022 03:07 AM

April 18, 2022

Doctor Popular

2022 Hunky Jesus

We had a great time at Hunky Jesus today in Dolores Park. Steen wore her Romulan outfit and I just wore a green sweater. We saw tons of old friends in the park and had about 8 folks in our group watching the event.

It was actually my second day hanging out at Dolores this weekend. Yesterday’s yo-yo meet up was a ton of fun.

The post 2022 Hunky Jesus appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at April 18, 2022 03:00 PM

I before E except Gleitzman

Claire Kao

kwee’s week in photos

fun friend food 

a rough week for our friend ziggy
An ever so brief moment of peace and quiet 
I started this week as a volunteer Horticulture Partner at the High Line! I’ll be working for a shift each week out in the sun with plants and soil and gardeners in a place that has been my go-to green space in NY 🌱🌲🌿🌾 

A beautiful new performing arts venue in Chelsea 💃🏻🍎
Baby Yoda pancake made with Partake Waffle/Pancake Mix 💕

Doggy on a train. Still not having a great time, but it’s getting better 😭
Guess where we are guess where we’re going guess which chip flavor is whose 

Sunrise Easter 
Ramadan Mubarak, Chag Pesach sameach, happy Easter 
Sunrise to sunset 

by Claire ( at April 18, 2022 01:08 AM

April 11, 2022

Claire Kao

a powerful anti-war ballet from 1932

Screenshots from a 2000 performance by the Joffrey Ballet, staged by Anna Markard (the daughter of Kurt Joos)

A mesmerizing, concise, and effective ballet from Kurt Joos, a German choreographer who first staged and performed in this ballet on July 3, 1932. Unfortunately and tragically still relevant 90 years later—to the invasion of Ukraine the past month, and to the unending state of war in the world.
I don't believe war is a necessary and inevitable part of the human condition. I can't wait for this ballet to be irrelevant, a sentiment the choreographer's daughter has shared in interviews. But, while its message is still meaningful, here is "A Dance of Death in 8 Scenes":

1. The Gentlemen in Black

discussions between diplomats and politicians, some civil, some uncivil, at The Green Table 

2. The Dance of Death and Farewells

Death appears

conscripts heading to battle, saying their farewells while Death looms

3. The Battle

fighting; then a profiteer in a bowler hat strips dead soldiers of their valuables

4. The Refugees

the toll of war on more innocents, civilian women at home. Death appears and takes a soul

the profiteer approaches the women when they are at their most vulnerable

5. The Partisan

a rebel at the home front

she successfully takes the life of an enemy soldier
and pays with her own

6. The Brothel

the profiteer prostitutes refugee women 

one of the prostituted women succumbs to, and is relieved by, Death

7. The Aftermath

a soldier fights bravely, 

but eventually dies

a parade of all who have gone with Death. No one is safe, not even the profiteer

8. The Gentlemen in Black

as the grave toll of the war mounts, diplomats continue diplomating. And the ballet concludes

a personal note

Green Table 18.png
I saw the Joffrey perform this ballet in 2007, and the images, staging, and choreography have never left my mind. At the time, I was an aspiring ballerina who was meeting casting disappointment after casting disappointment. It was becoming evident I was never going to be the dainty, pretty, admired Sugarplum Fairy of everyone's dreams. 
In reaction, I found myself turning to contemporary and other forms of dance which could afford more expression and depth than pure storybook ballet. After seeing this piece, the role of Death became my dream role—a strong, imposing, dark character quite unlike anything I'd ever been told to aspire to. Though I've never stepped into this role, I am grateful to this ballet because it liberated me from my cloying, sticky-sweet cotton-candy tutu dreams and expanded my vision of what art could and should express.

by Claire ( at April 11, 2022 05:11 AM

Certainly Strange

Art Trade

I drew somebody’s OC for an art trade, haven’t done that in a while, it was fun!

by Steen at April 11, 2022 03:04 AM

Doctor Popular

Yet Another Yo-Yo Jingle

I started off recording a new tutorial for a yo-yo trick called Yet Another Gondola, but I ended up recording a new theme song instead.

You can download this song from my Patreon page.

The post Yet Another Yo-Yo Jingle appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at April 11, 2022 02:14 AM

April 08, 2022

I Like Turtles

Cousin camping


April 08, 2022 04:00 AM

April 04, 2022

Claire Kao

space is the place (1974)

Seeing this movie was a long time coming, 

and I finally had the good fortune to see it on the *big screen* at Film Forum. I was aware of Sun Ra and had seen images from the film before. And, based off of these images/references I had seen before, I thought Space is the Place was mainly known for being a fun, shiny, imaginative, and visual spectacle.
It was indeed a fun, shiny, imaginative, and visual spectacle, but it also contained volumes of social commentary. I had no idea the piercing critiques within the movie, and am awed by how much these same ideas continue to echo, reverberate, and *vibrate* today (see bottom).
See for yourself, the entire film is on YouTube right now:

"The music is different here, the vibrations are different, not like planet Earth. Planet Earth sounds of guns, anger, and frustration. There's no one to talk to on Planet Earth that understands. We'll set up a colony for Black people here, see what they can do on a planet all their own, without any white people there. They could drink in the beauty of this planet, it would affect their vibrations, for the better of course. Another place in the universe, up under different stars...or better still, teleport the whole planet here through music"

a Tarot card-based card game, a cosmic showdown between Sun Ra and the Overseer

the Overseer

June Tyson

♪ "if you find earth boring / just the same old, same thing / Come on sign up with / Outer Spaceways, Incorporated" ♪

the woefully ill-suited applicants

rescued by the youth

An echo 

On what it means to participate in power structures that were built to exclude:

by Claire ( at April 04, 2022 05:41 AM

Certainly Strange


I finally got a flower pin made for a Commander’s rank insignia, soooo peep the promotion I guess!

by Steen at April 04, 2022 05:02 AM

Doctor Popular

“Parkour” jingle

The newest episode of my PopCast Yo-Yo vlog is all about a yo-yo trick called Parkour. I got carried away and wrote a little jingle for the trick too, which you can hear in this short clip:

You can watch the full PopCast video here:

The post “Parkour” jingle appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at April 04, 2022 01:55 AM

April 03, 2022

I before E except Gleitzman

A room of one’s own – Ames, Iowa

April 03, 2022 10:12 PM

April 01, 2022

I Like Turtles



April 01, 2022 04:00 AM

March 28, 2022

Certainly Strange

More Daggerfall

Found myself playing Daggerfall again this weekend… here we go again…

by Steen at March 28, 2022 07:40 AM

Claire Kao

kwee’s week in photos

Isle of Dogs

Baby’s first train ride 

NY street style: Stella, ring bearer at her peoples’ wedding 
The piglet + Dominique 

March birthday bonanza madness 

HBD Taylor Han PETER !!!!!! 
🏹 🎯 🎈 


ヾ( ̄▽ ̄) ヽ(✿゚▽゚)ノ (⌐■_■) o(*°▽°*)o
And sometimes y
Georgina Gratrix, "Shape Shifter/Princess" 2019

by Claire ( at March 28, 2022 04:50 AM

Doctor Popular

A deep dive into “Everlong”

The Foo Fighter’s “Everlong” is one hell of a song, but it also happens to be one of my favorite music videos of all time too. I had been meaning to write a post about it for a while, but with the recent passing of Taylor Hawkins, the band’s drummer, it seemed like a good time to look at this song again.

The Music Video

The music video for “Everlong” was directed by Michel Gondry. The video stars the band members and uses practical effects to pay homage to classic horror films. Pat Smear and Nate Mendel play the villains in Teddy Boy style clothes. Dave Grohl plays the hero of this video and Taylor Hawkins plays the role of the heroine. Taylor joined the band after this album was finished, so what we are actually hearing is Grohl’s drumming on this song. If you are interested in reading about all of the references packed into the video, check out this article on Kerrang.

The Sonic Youth influence

Dave Grohl wrote the Everlong riff between recording sessions. He dug the riff, but was worried at first it sounded too much like a Sonic Youth song. I never picked up on that before, but I can totally hear it. When he played the song for members of Sonic Youth they were very encouraging.

The Howard Stern effect

“Everlong” is often considered the Foo Fighter’s biggest hit, but apparently it wasn’t as big a hit when it first came out. Despite the killer video, the song only had modest success until about a year later when Grohl made an appearance on the Howard Stern show. Stern requested “Everlong” so Grohl did a stripped down acoustic version of the song on the show. It was the success of that appearance that breathed new life back into this song and cemented it as a hit.

The Final Letterman show

The Foo Fighters were the musical guest on the final episode of The Letterman show. During their appearance they played “Everlong”.

The post A deep dive into “Everlong” appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at March 28, 2022 12:49 AM

March 27, 2022

I before E except Gleitzman

America, 2022

March 27, 2022 04:15 PM

March 26, 2022

I Like Turtles



March 26, 2022 04:00 AM

March 21, 2022

Certainly Strange

I before E except Gleitzman

Artemisia at the Starline April 8

Expect haunting melodies, and perhaps an appearance by Skellington Jones

March 21, 2022 05:47 AM